Why do roses have thorns?

Most people love the beauty of roses. In society, they have come to symbolize friendship and love, and the lovely fragrance only adds to its attraction. You can get roses in pink, red and white colors. Did you know they have over 30,000 different species around the globe of roses? One of the interesting things about all rose species comes from the fact that they have thorns. Why do they have a rose with thorns?

Every Rose Has Its Thorn

Botanists have given the thorns on roses the term, “prickles.” These sharp spikes on the rose can make them painful to the touch. How do prickles and thorns differ? While prickles have the same purpose as thorns, you can get rid of them from the skin much easier than what you could with a thorn. They also don’t come off the rose. Like if you have ever gotten a cactus thorn in your skin, you know how it can stick around for days if you get it in the wrong place, much like a splinter. You can remove prickles much easier in comparison.

Like many of the other things in nature, most botanists believe that roses eventually evolved in such a way to where thorns became a form of protection. It kept animals from eating them. Much like how a monarch butterfly will have bright colors to deter predators from eating it, the rose has its thorns to deter animals from eating them. The sweet fragrance could attract them, but the thorns will stop them. You see many different protection systems like this in plants to protect them from getting eaten. For example, some plants will have polymers in them to hinder the digestion of the plants to animals. Other plants that produce berries will be poisonous in the protection of the plant. The same thing exists for roses, but they use thorns to protect themselves from being eaten.

Interesting Native American Folklore around Rose Bushes

In the Native American Chippewa culture, the belief in the reason for roses having their thorns comes in the form of interesting folklore passed down orally for generations. Centuries past, the Chippewa tribes believe that roses had no thorns, but the rabbits and other predators would eat up an entire rosebush at a time, and they were wreaking destruction on the bushes. Finally, the roses met together, and they decided to seek counsel with a powerful medicine man known as Nanahboozoo. Nanahboozoo had magical powers, and he felt angry at what the rabbits had done to the rose bushes that he planted. When the roses came to Nanahboozoo, he decided to arm the rose with thorns across its body to ensure that animals that might eat this beautiful plant couldn’t do so.

Does Every Rose Have Thorns

Almost every rose species that you can find will have thorns on them, and this comes to protect themselves from predators that would eat them, otherwise. We said that almost every species of rose will have its thorns, but you do have some species that have very few thorns on them. Usually, this means that the thorns will have greater spacing between thorns, which makes them easier to hold than some of the other species. You might plant this type of species along a walkway, or you might plant it in an area with small children.

How Long Have Roses Existed

Most botanists believe that the rose goes back 35 million years, which shows that this plant has existed for a long time. Scientists have even found fossilized records of the rose where they found it on the slate in Florissant, Colorado. Roses have been a popular flower, and many gardeners have seen this as an awesome flower to have a few different varieties.

How the Rose Thorn Relates to Love

Many people have come to see the beauty of the rose as a powerful symbol of love, and at the same time, they have accepted how roses have thorns. In fact, that too has become the other side of love where people love, and love is a very beautiful thing, but the thorn has come to symbolize the hurt and sadness that can sometimes follow a result of this beauty. The rock band Poison even wrote a song called “Every Rose has Its Thorn.” You don’t have to be too creative to realize the meaning of that song.

The Philosophical Meaning of Rose Thorns

The thorny rose bush has also come to have meaning among philosophers. They see life as a great and beautiful gift, but at the same time, you can get hurt in life, symbolizing the thorns.

Understanding the Process of the Rose

Before the flower ever starts to bloom, the rose bush will first have thorns developing. That gives the rose some protection as it blossoms on the bush. The thorns ensure that the flower doesn’t get eaten by animals before it has the opportunity to spread its pollen through the assistance of butterflies and bees. Many botanists have learned how wild roses have sharper thorns than the ones that you’d find in the nursery, and this could come from the fact that you need sharper thorns to protect yourself out in the wilderness. You don’t have as many threats in a greenhouse. Another reason for this comes from how botanists have cross-bred the flower with other plants to create thorns and make it more market friendly.

The rose imparts a life lesson for many of us. Whether it be philosophical or on the concept of love, it holds much meaning for many people. Around the world, people love the sight and fragrance of roses. Researchers have learned how the roses that have the strongest fragrances will usually have the largest thorns, which come be as a direct result of protecting itself from predators that would otherwise eat it. Along with thorns on roses, you can also find thorns on raspberries, pyracantha, bougainvilleas and many other species of flowers as a protection mechanism.

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